Again, FG vows to deal with purveyors of fake news, hate speech


The  Federal Government has again warned Nigerians against fake news
and hate speech, vowing to  punish perpetrators.
The government has been criticised by many Nigerians who accuse it of
planning to use hate speech and fake news as a means to clamp down on
critical views.
The Minister of Information and Culture,  Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who
said this, also said no amount of attacks, sponsored or otherwise,
will stop the implementation of approved recommendations on reform of
broadcasting code.
The minister stated this on Sunday at a meeting with online publishers
in Lagos.
Mohammed was more particular about fake news in the broadcast media
and sought the support of the online publishers.
“Let me be straight: No amount of attacks, sponsored or otherwise,
will stop the implementation of the approved recommendations,” he was
quoted as saying by the News Agency of Nigeria.
“Only non-patriots and anarchists will kick against measures aimed at
putting an end to fake news and hate speech, especially in our
broadcast industry.
“Only those who are guilty should be afraid of the efforts to sanitize
the broadcast industry. Responsible broadcasters have nothing to
Mohammed added that the government’s action “is not a move to stifle
free speech or gag anyone.”
“But purveyors of fake news and hate speech should not expect to sleep
easy,” he said.
The minister had on October 10 announced President Muhammadu Buhari’s
approval of the review of National Broadcasting Code and extant
broadcasting laws to reflect stiffer penalties for violators of
broadcasting regulations.
Mohammed, who inaugurated the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)
Reform Implementation Committee, added that the president also
endorsed the implementation of reforms to end monopoly in the sector.
The minister, however, noted that since the inauguration of the
committee, there have been attacks, many of them sponsored, from some
He reiterated that the federal government would continue to evolve
ways to tackle the menace.
The minister recalled that he launched the National Campaign Against
Fake News in July 2018 in Abuja.
“While the national campaign has succeeded in putting the issue of
fake news and hate speech on the front burner of national discourse,
the menace has yet to go away.
“Let me be clear: we didn’t think the issue will suddenly disappear,
but we also didn’t think it will get worse, which is what it is now.
“In fact, it remains a clear and imminent danger to the polity. It is
in this light that we are once again asking you to join us in pushing
this campaign,” he said.
The minister enjoined the online publishers to lead the campaign
against fake news and hate speech, which he tagged as “the Siamese
twins of evil”.
“Gentleman, we expect you to remain in the vanguard of the efforts to
tackle fake news and hate speech.
“We expect you to educate our people on the efforts being made,
especially by the government, in this regard.
“This administration has no intention of muzzling the media or
stifling free speech.
“Our campaign is against fake news and hate speech. And we will not
rest until our media space has been rid of fake news and hate speech,”
he said.

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